Sunday, 30 April 2017

Pukka Tea: Supreme Matcha Green

A few weeks ago I went shopping with my mum. I was having a lovely time till she uttered those words I hate. "I'm going into Marks and Spencers". For those who don't live in the UK and are unsure about Marks and Spencers I will describe it for you. It's generally a clothes shop where ladies and gents can go to kit themselves out in the latest fashions. It's also hotter than hades. Possibly, even, the center of the sun. In short, no matter if it's spring, summer, autumn or winter, you will fry to death in that shop.

It also has the ability to turn me from a perfectly normal, rational person, to a miserable grump in 0.23 seconds. 

So, leaving mum to browse the sales rails, and possibly to fight to the death for that reduced top she's had her eye on for months, I popped into Holland and Barrett and wanted a nose around their tea section. I was delighted by what I found. There was plenty of choice and honestly, it's a phyiscal impossibility for me not to buy something.

I was also feeling slightly under the weather and wanted a boost so after quite some time considering what to buy, I settled on Pukka Organic Tea's interesting Supreme Matcha Green tea.

Within the box there are 20 individually wrapped tea sachets.

Each sachet contains a standard tea bag with tag. However, as you can see, the teabag is filled with a generous amount of tea.

I have never tried matcha. I will admit, with a great deal of shame, that I have absolutely no idea how to prepare what I hear is the most magical, energy boosting tea, so I thought I may be able to experience matcha within the convenience of a teabag. Each bag contains matcha powder, and the leaves of tea from China, India and Vietnam.

I was beyond excited to taste this interesting and different tea.

Considering the tea is green I was surprised at the brewing instructions. They went against the grain of everything we know and trust about infusing green tea. No off boil water for two minutes. This tea needs boiling water and has a infusion time of between three and five minutes! So different from normal green tea!

This tea has left me in two minds. I like it but at the same time not totally sure if it appeals to me. It's so strange to leave me feeling in two minds, but that is exactly how this tea makes me feel. I flim flam on this tea. Go from really loving it to just liking it. It's all so odd.

Supreme Matcha Green has all those familiar tastes that I love in green tea. It has that grassy earthiness. The natural, healthy feeling and the satisfaction that green tea gives.

There are many different layers to this tea, and it's strong and has depth, which I think comes from the matcha powder.

When you first take your sip you have that gorgeous grassy flavour that I adore in green tea, followed by a rich earthiness which I find most appealing. However, towards the end of the sip there is a astringency, a uncomfortable bitterness and I think that is where my problem with this tea lies. It's a sip of two halves; gloriously light and refreshing, herbal and healthy at the start and quite bitter and hard to drink at the end of the sip.

And the fact that I haven't actually managed to finish a full mug says a lot about this tea. Normally, with most tea's I have, the cup is finished and the kettle re-boiling in a matter of seconds. With this blend though, it doesn't even get finished. It's like I start the cup with the best intentions but just run out of heart half way through.

I WANT to like this tea. I WANT to love it. But not matter how many times I try, I just can't seem to. I like it, it's not gross or unpleasant, but I don't love it. It's just missing out on that extra something, and with the missing "something" plus the bitterness, I just really struggle with it.

I probably will keep trying with this tea, if just to finish off the box, but I can't see me buying this again.

You will love this tea if you like the slight astringency that green tea is famous for. And you'll most certainly love this if you are a matcha lover. This won't be for you though if you prefer the more delicate green tea's or if the tart taste doesn't work for you.

I will not give up on this tea though. Next time I infuse it, I'll use cooled water and just infuse for a minute or so to see if this changes the taste.

It's really hard to write a blog that isn't overflowing with positivity. But to be a proper blogger I have to be honest. I can't write what I don't feel. To say I love something when I don't, I'm not just lying to myself, but to you, the reader. And that just never sits easily with me.

Of course, taste is so personal. You may just love it. So why don't you try and see what you think and then let me know. I'll be interested to hear.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Bev's Tea Company: Thieves Brew

When you explore the tea world you realise that there is a plethora of wonderful tea's out there. There are fresh and new blends appearing almost weekly and we also have traditional tea's such as Earl Grey. And believe me I love an exotically flavoured tea as much as the next tea lover.

But there is also something really nice about sinking back into your favourite chair or comfy bed with a cup of plain black tea. The pure tea that has absolutely nothing (not even milk or sweetener!) added. As a tea blogger I sometimes am guilty of forgetting that aside from all the flavoured tea's there is just plain black tea that can be as equally satisfying and enjoyable. I'm so used to trying a whole range of tea's that it's nice to come back to where I started.

Of course, to enjoy black tea in the best way possible it's vital that you have a really good quality tea. This evening I'm enjoying just that. The blend is Thieves Blend from Bev's Tea Company. I was sent this tea through the fabulous tea subscription service, teatourist

The fabulous blend is a Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka.

According to Bev's Tea Company website, the blend gets it's interesting  name from the fact that workers on the tea estate would make this tea in their own homes, often stealing leaves!

This tea is gorgeous to look at with lovely, dark black leaves. This is traditional tea at it's very best and takes me back to visiting my nan and watching her make a pot of tea up with leaves that looked very similar to this. I love the fact too that the leaves in this blend are fairly large so wont escape during the brewing process.

I boiled the kettle and infused the tea and watched as it infused to a bright copper colour. Again, attractive and inviting. The appearance of this wonderful tea is pleasing.

Friday nights are like Sunday nights for me. My shift pattern starts on a Saturday so I like to drink plenty of tea and blog on a Friday. So I made up a cup of this tea and settled down.

From first sip I really loved this tea. I like how this is full of flavour yet not too strong and overbearing and certainly not malty like Assam tea can be.

This is a smooth black tea which is nice and easy to drink. I like that it has a richness and with each sip your mouth is bursting with flavour. For me there is also a ever so slight nutty tang to this tea.

Though unflavoured this tea has a slight hint of citrus to it. Though this tea has a rich quality to it, it's also very light and sits easily on the stomach. This is a great tea to have any time of the day but I find it's especially nice to brew in the early evening, taken just after dinner.

When the tea cools it retain's it's lovely and refreshing light flavour and does not go bitter and astringent.

I found this to be a most satisfying cup of tea. It is of a very high quality and is a great all rounder. I take all my tea without milk and unsweetened. However, I should imagine this would take to milk and sugar very well and also lemon if you wanted to make your tea a little more exotic!

I do wish I had access to this tea when I made the leap from taking my tea milky and sweet to black. This is subtle enough to help make that change if you are planning to, whilst, at the same time, providing you with a enjoyable and fulfilling cup of tea.

I can honestly say that this tea did not last very long - the cup was very soon empty!

This is the first tea I've tried from Bev's Tea Company and I'm sure it won't be the last. I am so impressed with the lovely quality of the tea. I love the lightness, I love how fresh it is and how it's perfect to unwind to after a busy day.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Momo Cha Fine Teas: Shiraore Green Tea

This evening I'm tucked up in bed nice and warm whilst it's raining quite heavily outside. As blogging is my passion I rifled through my sample box and decided that I'd like to have a green tea to review. Today I've had fruit tea's and black tea's and quite frankly, I've missed my daily green tea that I always have.

The tea I selected this evening is Shiraore Green Tea from a fantastic tea company, Momo Cha Fine Teas. The tea is a gorgeous tea from Japan. This tea was sent to me through the excellent tea subscription service from teatourist

What first struck me about this tea is it's really gorgeous colour. Oh my goodness, not seen a tea with such stunning colour in a while. I absolutely love that there is a really dark green tea and then, in contrast a lighter green colour. Very pretty. Uniquely, there is a grassy element to this tea, it's quite fine, and I found it stuck to my teaspoon when filling my bag! It's just lovely and looks like it is bouncing with health!

I am always very, very careful with the way I brew my tea. However, today, having had a couple of sturdy black tea's and some fruit tea's I have gotten out of the habit of carefully monitoring the tea making preparations, so I had to remind myself that this is a far, far more delicate tea that I had taken today and so I adhered to the brewing instructions strictly. Firstly, I switched the kettle off before it got anywhere near to a full boil and infused the tea for a minute, as suggested on the information card.

The tea infused to a very light green colour, so pale that it resembles just plain water!

Sadly, the photo does the tea no justice, however, you can see that it brews to a very pale colour.

Shiraore tea is very traditional. It captures the very essence of green tea. And it's everything that people would probably say about green tea. And it's everything that I love about green tea.

The aroma of this tea is quite strong and was very evident from the moment I cut open the packet. It has that grassy, vegetation type aroma which drives me nuts about green tea. I just love it!

Due to the fact that the water temperature needs to be a bit cooler then normal to prepare this tea, I was sure to drink this as quickly as it could whilst still fairly hot. And it's just amazing.

As I settled into bed and took my first sip .. well, the only way I can describe it is heavenly. It has ALL the elements that I so love in green tea. I adore the grassy flavour this tea has. It's just something that happens to appeal to me. With each sip, as the flavour developed in my mouth, it just got better and better.

This tea is also very smooth and easy to drink. Due to the fact I prepared the tea correctly, it's totally devoid of any sort of bitterness. But, I will say that it's vital to prepare the tea exactly how the company suggest as this does have the potential to go bitter and astringent if you use boiling water or if you over steep. Easy does it with this tea!

There is also a slightly roasted flavour to this tea, or at least that is what I picked up from it.

As this is so traditional this will appeal to those of us steadfast green tea lovers. It's totally fulfilling and satisfying. However, if you are new to green tea, or new to taking it pure and unflavoured, it's delicateness - and this has a appealing delicateness without being too weak - this would be a ideal tea to start with.

I cannot praise this green tea enough. I like it's natural earthiness. I find it delicious. I like how simple and pure it is, how it's completely unadulterated. And I love it.

But to get the very best out of this tea you MUST follow the brewing instructions to the letter. I did and thoroughly enjoyed it.

This is the first tea I've tried from Momo Cha Fine Tea's. And I'm incredibly impressed. I certainly hope to experience more of their tea's in the near future.

I'm off to make another cup of this gorgeous tea and browse their website. It's highly likely I'll find at least ten tea's I'd love to buy!

Tugboat Tea: Hibiscus Tea

This afternoon I'm bringing you a tea which was sent to me by the wonderful teatourist tea subscription service.

The tea is from Cornwall based tea company, Tugboat Tea and it's their punchy Hibiscus Flower Tea.

I have been really interested in this tea since it arrived in my teatourist box.  I love how large and deeply coloured the hibiscus flowers are.

There are no further additions to the tea - it's hibiscus flowers and that is all. Plain and simple, though it certainly doesn't taste plain and simple.

I filled up a teabag full of the flowers. As the flowers are quite large I couldn't get too many into the bag, which is great as it means the tea will probably last a lot longer!

As you can see the leaves of the tea are large and I just loved the deep crimson colour! Visually, this tea certainly packs a large punch!

That exceptional colouring continues during the steeping process. This tea can be steeped for up to five minutes upon which it develops a blood red colour which is stunning.

I will admit that I was unsure about this tea and how I would actually like it as I've not tried hibiscus on it's own, only in other blends. I wasn't sure if it would be my thing or not, and I was pleasantly surprised.

The tea tastes just like cranberry to me. It's strong and has a depth of flavour which I find really nice. And as the tea cools that depth of flavour keeps developing.

The flavour of the tea though is quite tart and I will admit that as the tea cooled I had to add just a sprinkle of sugar to take the edge off. Of course, if you like sharper flavours, then this is most certainly a brilliant blend for you. For me though, I have to say, I did need to add sugar to it. Though I should imagine sweetener or honey would work just as well.

I found this to be a most refreshing cup of tea. It would work really well as a iced tea too!

I have to say I'm not sure that this would of been the first tea I would of thought to have brought (and that's the beauty of teatourist - you are encouraged to step out of the old comfort zone!) but I'm so glad that I got the chance to enjoy it's natural and unique qualities.

It certainly does pack a punch and the fact it contains no caffeine makes it the perfect evening cuppa!

The UK Loose Leaf Tea Company: Peach Garden

I will admit that during childhood I had a quite blinkered vision of tea. Not only was it a drink that your nan - who was a gazillion year's old - drunk, but it was also a horrendous, weirdly brown, stewed monstrosity. There was absolutely nothing appealing in it at all. A glass of coke or Ribena was much better. Green tea was only sold in health shops and was reserved for people who were of the hippy inclination, and fruit tea was limited to strawberry or grapefruit I seem to remember.

Naturally though as I grew up and matured my opinions have certainly changed (well, they must have there are over 300 tea reviews on here!) and now tea pumps through my body instead of blood.

However, one of the last taboo's that I've broken is fruit tea. I will admit I have VERY bad memories of fruit tea. I was thirteen, suffering toothache and mum thought it was a good idea to give me a blackcurrant tea. Not only did it up the pain level by roughly 1000 times, it was hideous. It had, I seem to recall, a horrid furry texture.

Since starting this blog I have been reserved when it comes to fruit tea. However, in my opinion, things are really turning around. There are companies out there who specialise in fruit tea, creating exciting flavours and wonderful textures. I won't touch a supermarket fruit tea, they have not evolved since I was young, but little by little I am experimenting and enjoying fruit infusions.

Yesterday I received a gorgeous package of tea from The UK Loose Leaf Tea Company and included in the package was blend called Peach Garden. 

Last night I tried Peach Garden. Oh my ...

From the minute I opened this gorgeous tea, I fell head over heels in love. Though this is called peach garden the fruit listed is actually apricot which I have a huge fondness for so I was really grateful this blend had been selected. But there was absolutely no way in the world I was expecting such a gloriously scented tea. It takes your breath away, that familiar and much adored aroma of fresh fruit. First impressions were certainly very, very positive.

This tea is lovely to look at. There are huge chunks of apricot and they are wonderfully sticky to the touch. Mixed into the blend are lovely pink rose petals.

Included in this tea though are pieces of apple, rosehip and cinnamon. A interesting blend.

This infusion can be steeped for as long as you wish. I had to admit I poured the water on the tea, nipped up to the loo and then answered the front door, so by the time I had come round to getting back to the tea, it had been infused for about seven minutes and was a deep, scarlet colour, which is extremely eye catching.

With normal black or green tea I usually drink it straight away but I always leave fruit tea to cool a bit as I end up normally with burned tongue!

But whilst waiting for that short period it allowed me to experience the aroma of the tea which is refreshing and almost tropical. I really liked it and it impressed my brother who is a traditional tea drinker at heart.

What a beauty this tea is. Its a different sort of fruit tea to your traditional flavours which tend to be strawberry and mango or blackcurrant. The flavour from the apricot is sweetly fresh. There is a undeniable juiciness to this tea that is wonderful. The apricot is a rich flavour, too, which is moreish to a degree that my first cup was gulped down and the second on the brew before the kettle had cooled.

Included within this tea is also apple and I love how it brings a slightly tart element to the tea, which works as it compliments the sweetness from the apricot. Too much sweetness can be too much, too much sharpness is off putting. This tea has been blended so well that the two work hand in hand.

Along with sweetness, along with tartness there comes a spicy tang from the additional cinnamon. Like a flower in bloom, this tea unfolds with each sip. Each sip bringing something different, a exciting new taste.

And beyond all of those flavours and textures, there is one final surprise ... the smooth element of vanilla. Now, this is a rich flavour and if this was in a tea on it's own it could of been overpowering, however, with the tartness of apple especially, this just adds another layer to the flavour, it rounds it off nicely without taking over from the other flavours.

In short, this is a perfect fruit tea. The flavours have depth, work well together, compliment one another and are precisely blended. The tea feels all natural, too, which some bog standard fruit tea's don't tend to feel to me, anyway.

If you are a fruit tea lover this is certainly the tea for you. If, like me, you've tried cheaper fruit tea's and have been put off I would highly advise you to try this tea. This is what REAL fruit tea should taste like. This tea has full, fresh flavours and is blended wonderfully well.

From the angle of being a fruit tea sceptic, this bland has a massive thumbs up from me.

I am impressed. I am happy after drinking this tea. And I am just a little bit in love.

Please waste no time. Pop over to The Loose Leaf Tea Company and treat yourself to some Peach Garden. You won't regret it and you will certainly fall as much in love as I have. 

Right now I've just spotted their cherry tea. Will I buy some???? ... possibly!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Basilur Tea: Rainbow Tea

Last Friday was National Tea Day. I was absolutely devastated that I couldn't attend. One of the main reason's was Robert from Basilur tea was attending and I really wanted to go up and say hello to him. He's been really supportive of my reviews of their glorious tea's and it would of been nice to have had a chat with him. However, what did cheer me up was over Easter, feeling tired after working, I ordered some of their tea and at the end of last week it arrived. It did soothe a bit of the disappointment of not being able to attend the celebrations.

I had ordered the Rainbow tea and this is what I'm reviewing this evening. When the tea arrived it was in this gorgeous little caddie that I was kindly gifted by the company. It's just so pretty and I'm a total sucker for a nice caddie! It's beyond cute.

Whenever I go on Basilur's website I honestly can get lost, and I have actually lost half hour one afternoon just so smitten I am with the products they sell. I can browse and browse and browse all afternoon. Thinking I deserved a treat I ordered one green tea and one black tea.

Rainbow Tea is a blend made from black tea from Ceylon. Within the tea the added flavours which are featured are cherry, strawberry, marigold and safflower. I absolutely adore black cherry tea but I've not had it with strawberry and when I saw it on the website decided it was the blend for me!

Whenever I open this lovely caddie the gorgeous scent of strawberry just hits you and it's totally mouthwatering. Just delicious. As I fill my own teabags, which is a lengthy process, I just love being able to inhale the fruity scent for quite some time! Even my mum, who likes her tea decaffeinated and simple loves the smell of this tea and often find her opening the caddie when she thinks I'm not looking!

Visually this is a beautiful tea. I love how the leaves of the Ceylon tea are so wonderfully dark. Then you get splashes of colour from the added fruits. The dashes of red from the strawberry, blue from the cornflower and yellow from the safflower are just stunning and against the dark tea leaves make for a most appealing looking blend. I just love the dramatic black and bright colours. They work so well together.

As this is a black tea you are bit freer on how long you can infuse this tea. Of course you don't want to stew the tea, but I think you can infuse this comfortably for up to five minutes for a decent cup of tea. However, if you don't like your tea too strong then three to four minutes is good.

Although I haven't taken a photograph of the final tea (probably because I was too impatient to wait!) believe me this brews to a glorious, very dark brown colour. Very pleasing to my ever critical eye!

I will start the main part of this review by saying this is a very warming, comforting tea. I personally find that it's ideal to relax to after a stressful day. And I have taken this blend into work with me, filling my trusty Bodum travel cup with two tea bags stuffed full of this tea. My boss has kindly allowed me to take it to the till and I honestly will swear that it keeps me relaxed and able to deal with even the most difficult of customers. As I drink this now, tucked up warmly in bed, it's almost as though this tea absorbs all the worries and cares and sadness that I can feel at times as a sponge absorbs water. It takes it all away and I can focus solely on it's wonderful taste.

I love fruity black tea. Not much else in life gives me as much pleasure as a fruity black tea or a really good green tea. As long as it's done well and with Basilur I can trust in it's quality.

The fruity flavours in this blend are lovely and if you closed your eyes it's almost like you have plump cherries and strawberries actually in your cup.

Upon first sipping the tea the flavour that comes through initially is the familiar taste of strawberry. I've had strawberry in black tea before and in this blend it really works. It's the stronger of the flavours.

Not long after you get hit with the strawberry comes the flavour of the sweet cherries. I am absolutely mad for cherries, I love them and between you and I it's my favourite of the two. It's not a strong flavour but the sweetness it brings to the tea compliments finely the tartness that you get from the strawberry. The cherry and it's sweetness is rich and satisfying.

What I also like is the slightly floral flavour, which isn't as strong as the flavour from the fruits, but hovers quite happily in the background. It adds an interesting, herbal element to this tea, a different edge which makes this tea interesting to the very last sip.

The base black tea is from Ceylon and I can tell you this: it's superb quality. I have tasted several of the companies Ceylon both flavoured and unflavoured and having drunk plenty of their Pure Ceylon it's just heavenly it truly is. I love the richness of the Ceylon tea, it's smooth qualities and deep, slightly nutty flavour. Just scrummy!

And, having taken this tea to work in my travel cup, and having taken the tea when it's started to cool significantly, this does not go bitter and stays full of flavour to the very end.

I'm totally smitten with Basilur. And I don't mind admitting it. This is simply and honestly down to the quality of the tea. They produce excellent quality tea and from that they also add dreamy flavours. Their White Magic milky oolong and Cream Fantasty Green Tea (soon to be reviewed) are almost too good to describe.

Alongside the wonderful tea the packaging is also very fantastic. It appeals to my romantic, dreamy side. A side I don't reveal very often but is certainly there as my eyes light up when I window shop on the companies website.

This Rainbow tea is unique in as much as it combines wonderfully light flavours yet still is satisfying as any black tea can be.  Recently, due to me taking tea pretty much everywhere I go when I'm out, it's also become like a companion.

I don't regret buying this tea and I'm so glad I picked it. And I urge you to try it too. Simply because it's beautiful.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

MDTEA: Shades Of Grey

It's all about the Earl Grey for me. And I've tried quite a few. I just love it. Earl Grey is just a part of me as anything else!

When this months absolutely fabulous teatourist box arrived, I excitedly flicked through the box. The herbal tea's were awesome but amid those herbal tea's sat this little gem. I will, naturally, review all the tea's but my Earl Grey loving heart just can't ignore this blend! My soul just can't seem to resist.

This modern, funky and very different twist on such a traditional tea is from MDTEA and it's a blend called Shades Of Grey.

It's a absolutely gorgeous looking loose tea. It's base tea is Sri Lankan. And it also includes the traditional bergamot as well as orange peel and rose petals. Two of my favourite tea's, Earl Grey and floral coming together in one blend? Oh my god!

The tea itself has gorgeous, black leaves. What makes this tea even more attractive to look at is the contrasting colours - the orange from the orange peel and bright pink from the rose petals. It's just so very lovely - aesthetically pleasing in fact.

As it's a black tea it's you don't have to be quite so careful during the brewing process, so after filling a bag up, I let the blend brew for the full five minutes as suggested on the information card. However, if you like your tea a little weaker then it can be brewed for as little three minutes. I love my tea strong so the longer the infusion, the better!

What I found immediately impressive about this tea is the aroma. When I opened the packet the smell of bergamot was really strong. I happen to love the smell so I found it gorgeous. It could be a little overpowering if you are not used to it. But honestly, for me, it was perfect.

Despite the strong scent of bergamot however, amazingly, the tea is delicate and that was really surprising as I, on scent alone, would of thought the tea would of been stronger. Yet, at the same time, when infusing the aroma was inviting and that mixture of floral and citrus - wow, not experienced anything like it - and quite frankly, I loved it! It's my ideal tea!

But, we cannot judge a tea on scent alone. Upon first tasting it's delicateness was the first thing I noticed in a odd way. The scent and taste were almost like it was two different tea's.

The Sri-Lankan tea is gloriously smooth, with a slightly nutty flavour. Easy to drink and rich it is a well rounded, tasty tea. I could actually drink this tea unflavoured. It's just really, really good.

It was the citrus flavour that came through first. The oh so familiar, and much loved flavour of bergamot combined with the orange peel is very refreshing and cooling on a warm day. I like how the bergamot is calmed down by the sweet taste of the orange peel. Just delicious.

The rose flavour is the last to develop as you sip the tea. It's light and airy and I cannot tell you how lovely the citrus and floral work together. On paper you may not put the two things together but it works and works exceptionally well. As a lover of both tastes I am delighted with this tea.

This is a different tea. I think it's traditional enough to keep us Earl Grey lovers happy, but puts a modern spin on the blend making it very new, very interesting and exciting.

It's a deeply satisfying cup of tea. I had enough tea to make four cups and have had three already!

If I were to criticise this tea at all, which I hate doing, I would just up the strength of the floral and citrus flavours a wee bit so that they make a bit more of a impact. They work so well together it would be nice if they were stronger. However, that's just my taste and you may completely disagree with me once you've tried this tea.

Aside from that, I really liked this tea. I liked the quality of the ingredients. I liked how smooth and refreshing it was. I liked how moreish those flavours are. Just a simple joy to drink.

I finished my cup of this blend a very happy lady. I still cannot get over the fact my two favourite flavours are married together in one blend - it's just ideal for me. I'm sitting here with a wide smile on my face, happy to have tasted this tea. And for me, feeling happy is just one of the lovely gifts I get when I drink tea.

MDTEA get a huge thumbs up from me. This blend is genius.


Teatourist: UK Readers DO NOT Miss Out On A Wonderful Subscription Service

As you all know, I LOVE tea. I think it's pretty obvious!

What you may not know is I'm a tenacious person. I am steadfastly loyal to tea companies whom I have faith in.

Last year the lovely folk at teatourist introduced themselves to me. And since last year, each month, I've had a lovely tea box pop through the letter box (yes, the boxes are cleverly designed to be able to be posted through the letter box so you don't have to go and collect it from the post office if you're not in!)

teatourist are a exclusive tea subscription service. Each month they offer you six premium, high quality loose leaf tea's to try. The tea comes from artisan companies so you won't be seeing them in the supermarket.

On Saturday, after a pretty shocking shift at work, I was delighted to come home to see the familiar box sat on the kitchen counter. Now, there is a huge buzz about teatourist on Twitter this month. Why? Because the selection of tea is absolutely awesome. Included in the box are some traditional black tea's and some awesome herbal infusions too.

teatourist also offer you several plans and several ways of paying. You can buy a single box, you can join a rolling month to month and cancel or pause at any time (perfect if you wont be around for a while!) or you can buy a three or six month subscription.

It's just so easy and convenient!

In addition, with each tea you get a card, which describes the amount of tea you need, how hot the water needs to be and how long to infuse it. Plus, you get a little biography of the company who provided the tea and space to write your own notes - especially ideal for a tea blogger!

I cannot recommend this service highly enough. The choice of tea is amazing, the quality is excellent and every taste is catered for.

Not only is it exciting for the genuine tea lover to have tea arrive EVERY month, but it's fun experimenting with all the different types. And believe me, because the tea is selected for you, you do end up trying tea's that you may of bypassed as not your type of thing - and you actually end up liking!

So, UK tea lovers, please, please, please check out this fantastic service. A service that not only I think is great but is creating a stir on Twitter in the tea loving world.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Chash Tea: Venetian Rose

You may of noticed that recently there has been quite a few reviews of tea from Chash Tea. It's not like me to review so many tea's from one company in such a short time. However, I will also admit that since I've started blogging regularly again, I can't seem to bear a really good tea languishing in the tea cupboard, even for a short time, unblogged. And, again being honest, this is a tea that I just love drinking!

I spoke in a previous review of Chash Tea that I was contacted by the team asking if I'd like to receive some samples to feature on the blog. Have a look around, they said, and pick some tea's. Well, saying that to me is rather like giving Augustus Gloop the run of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory! However, being totally serious, I am aware that sample's from tea companies come out of a kind generosity and I would never take advantage of the offer. So the first thing I do when selecting tea's is look at the price and see that I'm not asking for anything really expensive.

On this occasion though, my natural, wired, floral tea radar went into overdrive and I found myself clicking on a tea that sounded so gorgeous. I couldn't resist and asked if it were okay to have a sample of the wonderful tea. That tea is what I am reviewing today. That tea is Venetian Rose.

Every time I open the pack of this loose leaf tea, just the aroma sends me into a spin. I've had several cups of this during the week and I never fail to lose that wow feeling whenever I first inhale that gorgeous smell. There is a little bit of a love story going on between me and this tea!

The tea is stunning to look at. It's leaves are dark and in contrast there are splashes of sunshine like yellow roses. I spoke earlier in the week after reviewing the Shakespeare tea how adorable I thought the tiny pink rosebuds where in that blend.

With this tea though they have something extra special. Yes, they do have rosebuds. But in this blend the rosebuds are yellow! Not that the guys at Chash would know this of course, but yellow roses are my all time favourite flower, so this tea has become even more special!

Whilst I waited for the tea to infuse I happily enjoyed the floral scent that came from the infusion process. It's lovely, rich and sweet and made that awful time when you're waiting for the tea to finish brewing much more bearable.

As you can see below the tea infused to a lovely dark reddish brown colour.

 The base tea used in this blend is black tea from China and Ceylon. It has a strong, rich taste to it, without being malty and overpowering like Assam can be. There are some tea's that can take to be flavoured and some tea's that can't, so Chash have made an excellent choice mixing the two tea's together. The tea is strong enough to get that satisfaction that you only can get from a excellent black tea but able enough to take such a delicate flavour.

The rose flavour is exactly that - delicate. But it's fresh and can easily be detected even though the tea is strong. So, you have two flavours, at the opposite end of the spectrum, yet it's blended so well that it really works.

I absolutely love the sweetness from the rose. It's almost like having traditional Turkish Delight in a cup. I've said it so many times that a really good floral tea can be beautiful, a bad one, where oils are added instead of real flowers, can be horrendously bitter.

This blend makes my  mouth water. It's so refined, dainty and sweet yet at the same time has real taste and strength. It's perfect for afternoon tea, with tiny cakes and sandwiches, yet, can be taken in your favourite battered old mug at the end of a stressful day. It's a versatile tea and not all floral based tea's are.

This tea is perfect for those tea lovers who love tea's such as rose tea or lavender. But it's also perfect for those who are wanting to try a floral tea and are a little unsure about where to start. This is floral enough to whet the appetite without being so strong it leaves you overwhelmed.

Today has been a rather odd day. And I was hugely disappointed not to have made the National Tea Day celebrations in London. But as I got settled down for the evening, with a cup of Venetian rose, well the day is ending on a really good note!

With this tea I have a little bit of luxury. And I'm hugely enjoying it!

UK Loose Leaf Tea Company: Gunpowder Green

I have an awful lot to thank the excellent tea subscription service, teatourist for. Not only have I tried some completely new and exciting tea's, I've also experienced familiar tea's that are provided by new companies. If it wasn't for teatourist, I'd of missed out on some excellent cups of tea.

So, this evening, I'm bringing you a wonderful Gunpowder Green tea which appeared in a teatourist box a couple of months back. It's from a totally new (to me, anyway!) company, The UK Loose Leaf Tea Company.

Today, it's National Tea Day. Friday also happens to be the day I do most of my blogging, so it's all really about the tea today!

Making tea now is a soothing ritual for me. I empty the old water out of the kettle, fill it with fresh, boil it, removing it from the heat just before it reaches boiling point, let it cool and pour over whatever tea I'm drinking. And this ritual is never more important than when I am preparing green tea. We all  know by now the "rules" for making the perfect green cuppa. So ingrained are these rules that it's now second nature to know how to make the tea correctly. I'm proud of that!

This evening I was stood in the kitchen. I have plenty of tea to blog about, as you'll imagine, however, I stopped briefly and listened to what my body wanted. And it wanted green tea. Going through my box of samples I stumbled across this tea. There isn't much of it left to sample, I've been enjoying this through the week. It was perfect then that this tea be the first one I blog about this evening.

This gorgeous tea from The UK Loose Leaf tea Company is a feisty little green tea that packs an impressive punch. It is a Gunpowder Green tea and I find the gunpowders to be the stronger of the green tea's. Making this tea I've settled in bed, popped Twin Peaks on the Sky Box and took one lovely, long sip of this magnificent tea.

But firstly, I should take a step back and tell you a little of the tea's appearance. Well, it's called Gunpowder because of it's resemblence to, well, gunpowder. This tea has a lush, dark green colour to it. It's rolled into tiny balls.

I watched this tea infuse to a light honey colour. The suggested brewing time was 2-3 minutes. As I like this tea strong I left it for the full three minutes. Still, it retained it's light colour.

The aroma from this tea is nice and woody. Earthy and has that natural scent that I so love with green tea. I find this tea satisfying in every single way.

The flavour of this tea is fantastic and will say is a whole lot stronger then some of the gunpowder green's that I've tasted - and that is all the better for me. This is a tea that you can get your teeth into and that leaves a lovely impression for some time after you have finished your mug. Or cup. Whatever you use to drink tea!

The initial flavour that comes through when drinking this tea is it's roasted elements. And this tea is quite similar to, though less stronger in taste, to the Japanese Kukicha that I reviewed last week. This tea has smoky elements to it. It is a tea that has many layers. The smokiness is subtle though, not overpowering at all.

My favourite aspect of this tea though is it's earthy, grassy taste. It's a flavour I cannot get enough of. I just love the very natural, fresh aspect to this tea. This tea is exactly what most people probably think of when they think of green tea. I could drink this all day, but sadly, the packet is now empty, which is a good sign that this has been finished off, as it does mean it's been a surefire hit!

There is also a very light, nutty element to this blend as well. Each part of the sip, the beginning, the middle and the end reveal different flavours and your tongue experiences many different tastes during a single sip. At first you have the toasted element, then a touch of smokiness, then the woody, grassy flavour. And it's that flavour that stay's in your mouth for some time.

To say I enjoyed this tea is a understatement. I loved it. But I am a green tea addict.

This is ideal if you are a convert to green tea, especially if you are used to and appreciate the unique aspects of green tea and the nuances that come with it. If you are just starting out on your green tea journey or are weary of trying green tea then perhaps it's not the one for you.

You will certainly find this robust green tea satisfying and if you fancy a change from black tea then this may be the tea for you. It has body and strength.

In simple words, this is just about as ideal a green tea as you'll get!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Chash Tea: Jasmine Pearls

So, did you all have a lovely Easter? I hope you had a relaxing one.

I had some time off, but on Easter Sunday I was working. We were the only shop open in miles and miles so pretty much everyone came to our shop to stock up on food, drink and last minute Easter eggs. I have to say, having started at 6am (getting up at 3.15am and leaving at 4am) by the time 2pm came around, I crawled out of that shop on my hands and knees. It was relentless, non-stop busy and I pretty much collapsed into my seat on the bus. By the time I had got home, I was tired and a wee bit cranky. So, feeling sorry for myself, I settled down for some online shopping. In years gone by I would of shopped for CD's and DVD's. Now though, I shop for tea.

I deserved a treat, I thought. So I went to two of my favourite tea companies and purchased a substantial amount of tea. One of those companies was Chash Tea. 

I didn't just deserve a normal treat though. I deserved top notch luxury. And I knew exactly what tea I was aiming for. Scrolling across the site, I found what I was looking for and what my body actually has been craving for a few weeks now. And I clicked and purchased. That tea is Jasmine Pearls. 

Jasmine Pearls is, in my opinion anyway, THE most luxurious tea you could possibly have. It's a total treat of a tea because it can be a bit more expensive compared to other tea's, however, it is worth every single penny you may pay for this tea. 

So, today, barely a few days after ordering, the tea was delivered by a lovely courier. It took barely five minutes from the tea arriving to it infusing in my mug. To say I was excited was a major understatement. I was utterly beside myself that an old friend to me was returning after quite a long absence!

However, every jasmine tea is different and this is the first time I purchased jasmine pearls from Chash so I was perhaps, even more excited to see how the tea tasted.

To look at this is a beautiful tea. Being slightly compulsive, I love how uniform the pearls are. How they are almost exactly the same size. This is very pleasing to my eye! According to Chash's website, these pearls are picked, rolled and scented twelve times with jasmine blossom!

When I snipped open the packet that familiar and much loved aroma of jasmine filled the kitchen. And it is a wonderfully strong scent of jasmine too. Beautifully floral and ever so lovely. For the floral tea lover this is just magic in a cup and this blend did not disappoint.

I filled a empty teabag with a generous amount of the pearls (the rest of the bag I'll be on rations as I need this tea to last for some while!) and watched with utter joy as the pearls unfurled from their tight ball like appearance to the lush green tea leaves. The tea needs only to be infused for three minutes and it brewed to a pale green colour.

Whilst the tea was steeping the aroma of Jasmine was sweet and delicious.

As I curled up on the sofa with my feet up on this cold day, I took my first sip and sunk back into chair. It was nothing but perfect. Though the jasmine aroma is quite strong, I was surprised at how dainty and delicate it was when it came to taste. It's very smooth, a total pleasure to drink and fragrant, without being overpowering.

I haven't felt quite so relaxed in a long time and I really got a wonderful feeling after taking this tea. My initial excitement as the tea arrived was replaced with a calm, quiet appreciation as I sipped on this tea. This is a tea for the tea connoisseur. Especially those of you that like jasmine in tea, which I do.

This is a tea to be savoured, so I'd take the time to enjoy it slowly. You can't waste this tea by gulping it down as you're racing out the door to dash to work. You owe it to the tea and yourself to sit back, relax and enjoy this wonderful, smooth tea.

What makes this tea even better is it can be infused up to three times. Unlike other tea's that can be reinfused, this tea does not suffer on it's second and third steeping.

On the second steep it retains all of it's wonderful, fresh flavour. Just as delicate and it tastes almost identical as the first steep. On the third steep it retains it's flavour, however, the colour is a little darker and it takes on a slightly sharp tang but still, it's very enjoyable and I do appreciate that this tea can be infused more that once - that makes this tea last a little bit longer!

To make this tea perfect it's imperative that you brew it correctly and this really will make the difference between having the most perfect cup of tea and having a horrid, bitter mess. So follow the instructions to the letter. DO NOT let the kettle reach a full boil. Switch it off just before it reaches boil and leave to cool for a minute or so. And don't over brew the tea, no more then three minutes. If you follow this, then honestly, you'll get the very best from this tea.

I am so glad that I decided to treat myself to this tea. Sometimes I 'um and aah' about buying things that I talk myself out of getting them. However, on Sunday I had made my mind up. I worked hard and this is the reward.

I am becoming perhaps a bit too reliant on Chash for all my tea needs! However, when you come across a company that not only holds it's standards for quality of tea very high, but also stocks inventive and traditional tea's, therefore giving you plenty of choice, you really do just want to hold onto them and try everything they have to offer.

There are two tea's that I hold up as quality markers for tea companies: Earl Grey and Jasmine Pearls. I've yet to try their Earl Grey but I can say their Jasmine Pearls is of superior quality.

This tea left me happy, the speed of delivery (over a bank holiday period) left me impressed.

So, a huge thanks to Chash for the lovely tea, the cute little samples and for always being on hand for advice on Twitter. It's much appreciated!

Friday, 14 April 2017

Basilur Tea: Jasmine Green Tea

As regular readers will know recently I've received several lovely tea samples from the fabulous Basilur Tea.  As I was excitedly rummaging through the tea box I found this lovely little gem. I say a gem because there is, quite frankly, nothing nicer than a Jasmine Green tea.

This evening, as my bank holiday draws to a end and I prepare to go back to work tomorrow, I wanted something extra special to enjoy. I write this, tucked up in bed with a mug of this lovely tea by my side, sipping slowly on this fragrant tea.

I am not totally sure why I am so taken with Jasmine in tea, but I truly am. I love it's lovely fresh fragrance and I love how it takes a green tea from the lovely to the sublime. However, not all Jasmine green tea's are created equally. Some are beautiful, others less so. So it is always with interest that I try a new green tea.

The first thing I'll say about Basilur's tea is that the packaging is extraordinary. It just is beyond pretty and I never tire of looking at the fabulous designs the tea comes in. It remains traditional but is by no means old fashioned. It's just lovely.

What is a bit different about this tea is that almost all of my tea from Basilur has been loose leaf tea. This tea, however, comes in a silky pyramid. Secretly I was delighted. I absolutely love silky pyramids. I love how they feel in my hands, a lovely, uniform smoothness. As a tactile person, the feel of something can be just as important to me as the aroma or taste. I think I stood a little bit too long just holding this pyramid. It's just lovely to the touch.This is, for me anyway, a tea for all senses.

As well as feeling lovely, this tea is very pretty indeed. I love the deep, lush green colour of the tea leaves and the splashes of colour from the Jasmine. The bag is also filled with a generous amount of tea, too. Ensuring that the strength of the tea will be a little stronger.

After boiling the kettle and leaving it to cool for a short while, I stood over this tea and inhaled it's beautiful, floral scent. The scent of jasmine is hard to describe, but all I can say it it's utterly beautiful and this tea just smelt wonderful. I simply couldn't wait to give this tea a try.

This blend, which comes from the companies bouquet range, is just an ideal tea to relax to and unwind with at the end of the day. I cannot sit here and say my day has been hectic, it has not! However, drinking tea that is over loaded with caffeine isn't the best thing to do at this time of day and yet I still want a warming tea and this is ideal.

The green tea enclosed within the silky pyramid is strong and robust. It has a natural, earthy flavour which I love in my green tea and which I find, for my tastes, utterly intoxicating and satisfying. I do think that because jasmine is quite a potent floral flavour it does need a strong green tea to work well and this certainly does.

I have spoken quite frequently about my intense dislike for cheaper jasmine tea's that add jasmine flavoured oil to the tea. Nothing is more acrid and difficult to drink. It is rather like drinking a bottle of perfume. However, Basilur use jasmine petal's instead of flavouing so the jasmine takes on a fresh, natural flavour.

Within the tea there is just enough flavour but not too much. It's always lovely to be able to taste the base tea as well as the jasmine. It's not nice if one cancels out the other. However, with this blend the two flavours work hand in hand to create a beautiful and tasty tea. You can still taste the base tea, yet the jasmine is strong enough to be noticed, too. It's a hard balancing act to get right but that has been achieved with this tea!

As I sip on this blend, and as I write this blog, I'm listening to George Harrison's solo masterpiece, All Things Must Pass. 'Sunrise doesn't last all morning' he is singing 'a cloudburst doesn't last all day ... all things must pass ... all things must pass away ..."

It's just a real pity that the experience of drinking this lovely blend of tea will pass. The cup is nearly empty, the tea almost gone. Basilur have created a perfect, well balanced, high quality jasmine tea. It's totally devoid of any bitterness, even as it cools. It's just about as perfect as you can get.

I am not surprised that the quality of this tea is high, it's Basilur's after all. But this tea has so many different layers, there are so many things I love about it, from it's delightful scent, mouthwatering flavour and even the silky pyramid is just lovely to experience.

As my evening draws closer to it's end, as work approaches, I can go to bed happy knowing I've had a lovely tea. And as a lady who loves her floral blends, I'm hard to impress, yet I am so impressed with this tea.

It's tea's like this that make blogging such a utter joy. I love to write, I love tea and to bring the two together over superior quality teas such as this makes me feel just about the luckiest person in the world.

And as for brand Basilur, well, I have several more samples in my tea jar and I cannot wait to see what delights await me. 

But, isn't it a pity I have to work tomorrow when there is so much tea to drink?

Shibui Tea: Japanese Kukicha

This tea from Shibui Tea has been sitting on my counter top for several weeks now. I cannot say how many times I've picked it up to sample and review, then put it down again. It's a strange looking tea, very twiggy looking. It's also very dark in colour. In a strange way, just like I was with Earl Grey, I've almost been a bit too nervous to try this tea. It's so very different, I wasn't quite sure if I'd "get" this tea. It looked as though it could be complicated.

However, sometimes we need to push our boundaries. Experiment. Try something new. That's what this blog is all about, trying new tea's and seeing if they appeal to us. Some do, some do not.

This Japanese Kukicha green tea from Shibui Tea certainly does push my tea drinking boundaries in as much as it's so different.

The main thing about this tea is it doesn't actually have tea leaves in it. It's made from the branches and stems of the tea plant, hence it's twig like appearance. The stems and branches are roasted in it's preparation which probably accounts for it dark black colour.

I think one of the things that made me slightly hesitant to try this tea was that it is described as having a smoky flavour. Many years ago I had a horrendous experience with a particular foul Lapsang Souchong tea and since then have been put off anything that is remotely smoky. I wasn't expecting this tea to be easy in the slightest to drink.

However, I filled up the empty tea bag with a substantial amount of the tea. I had switched the kettle off just prior to it reaching boiling point, and infused the tea for three minutes. And I waited. As it's described as being between a green tea and oolong I wasn't expecting it to take on such a dark hue, but it was attractive to look at. And the smokiness, which I was expecting to be everywhere, was extremely subtle.

I honestly will say that up to this point, I was truly expecting not to like this tea. But upon first sip ... oh my goodness. It's certainly different but it's very, very good. All doubts that I have had about this tea for weeks melted away. And actually, it's a tea that suits me quite well. I should of tried it ages ago!

Firstly, I ADORE the woody element to this tea. That's why I love green tea so much, because of the woody, earthy, vegetation type flavour and this has it in bucket loads. It's just so delicious, it's full of flavour, it's a tea that you could almost bite into if it were a solid object. This tea is as satisfying as if it were a full bodied Assam. It is glorious.

There is a element of smokiness. But it's not that overpowering taste like you get in some (cheap) Lapsang Souchong tea's. It's discreet, but adds a interesting pang to the tea, giving this tea a depth of taste to it. The smoky flavour is merely hinted at, it doesn't encase the whole tea. It takes the tea to another level. That one element in tea that I dislike and has put me off other blends really does make this tea very tasty indeed. So much so that though I will never be a Lapsang Souchong fan, I will be more willing in the future to try tea's that have smoky elements.

As much as Jasmine tea has feminine elements to it, this tea is very masculine. That's not to say that ladies can't enjoy this - it's not what I meant at all, rather, it's robust, strong and solid. It's quite a macho tea and I love it.

I love how the flavour of the tea stays in your mouth for absolutely ages and ages. It's surprisingly refreshing and incredibly moreish. I found it just a great tea to relax to early in the afternoon. As it's Good Friday I have my feet up watching a movie and it's really great to sip on this flavoursome tea.

I know I always say you shouldn't judge a tea on it's appearance. And I let myself down because I forgot this simple rule when it came to this tea. I looked at it's twig like appearance, I read it was smoky and dismissed it as something I wouldn't like. But actually, I've been missing out on a tea that not only provides me with exactly the elements I love in green tea but makes me feel really great. I have learned a very important tea lesson here!

I can honestly say that this is, perhaps, one of the biggest surprises in my tea drinking career. I loved the grittiness this tea has. I love how earthy it is. I love the fact that even the stems and branches of the tea plant can be turned into a fantastic drink. That none of the tea plant need go to waste.

I would highly recommend this satisfying tea. It's powerful flavour will stay with you, it's smoky elements are both tasty and unforgettable. I came away not only loving this tea but feeling happy and satisfied after drinking it.

It's funny but the tea I have doubted for weeks has hit all the important spots for me.

And also, I've learned a really good lesson. Sometimes things are not always beautiful on a surface level but can bring such happiness and joy into your life. It was a pleasure to drink this tea!

Chash Tea: Shakespeare Tea

A few weeks ago the lovely folk at Chash Tea kindly asked if I'd like some tea samples to review here on the blog. Of course I cannot turn down a very lovely invitation like that. I browsed with great interest the website. Then I came across a very interesting looking tea. That tea was Shakespeare Tea.

I will admit it was rather cheeky to ask for a sample of this tea as it's a blend that is a wee bit more expensive then other tea's on offer. "Please" I asked "Could I have enough of this for just one cup?". Luckily, and rather kindly I thought, I was sent enough to make several cups.

When the tea arrived a couple of days later, I had a lovely little handwritten note from Dan, telling me it had been blended that very day. So if this tea was nothing else it was freshly prepared!

There were several reason's this tea appealed to me when I was browsing Chash's website.  Firstly, I loved how very British this tea sounds. You cannot get more British then a tea based around our most famous bard! Instantly I thought of the lush greenery of a summer's day in Stratford-Upon-Avon. This is a tea that made my tea loving mind run in so many different directions.

What may not be known about me is I'm absolutely mad on anything about the Tudors and in fact anything about life in general in Tudor and Elizabethan times. So, naturally, I was delighted to read about a tea that covers my obsession with tea and love for history. And, as you'll see in Chash Tea's description of the product, the ingredients featured in the tea are manly floral and herb based and these have been picked because they are items mentioned in the bard's many plays. So is there a tea more perfect for Laura? I think not! This could almost of been created for me!

I COULD NOT wait to try this tea. And I was not disappointed.

Oh this tea is just so pretty! I couldn't quite believe my eyes. How gorgeous is this tea? I love how you have such a pretty pink colour from the rose, bright sunshine yellow from the chamomile and a dark green from the fennel. Seriously, if you choose to order some of this tea, take a minute to just look at it. It's beyond gorgeous. It's lush, almost like Britain's countryside in a tea.

I couldn't not include within this blog this picture of this cute, tiny rosebud. Honestly, it's just so pretty. (I've actually saved this little rosebud and put it in a safe place, so taken with it am I!)

I generously filled my teabag with tea from the packet and let it infuse for several minutes. I love the floral scent and as it gently wafted around the kitchen it really piqued my interest. What was it going to taste like, I wondered to myself.

The tea brewed to a gorgeous amber colour. So far, so good ..

Shakespeare Tea is extremely interesting and very, very different. When I think of floral based tea's I think of sweet rose or aromatic lavender. However, this tea tasted totally different to what I expected it to me and what years of tea drinking experience led me to believe it would taste.

This tea is interesting, different and keeps you on your toes. For though it contains rose, it's not traditional in any sense.

The base tea is a lovely first flush Darjeeling. I have to admit I don't drink Darjeeling very often as I have stated on here recently I prefer Ceylon, however, I have nothing against Darjeeling so I always enjoy drinking it! I loved the smooth taste of the Darjeeling though, and it is a natural and perfect partner to the lovely ingredients that are contained in this tea.

The reason this tea feels very different and fresh compared to other tea's is the ingredients contained within. Yes, you have delicate rose, but you also have the unique herbal flavour of chamomile and then the spiciness from fennel! It's certainly different.

When you first sip on this tea there is a lovely, sweet flavour from the rose. It's familiar and gentle and I absolutely adore rose in tea. It's subtle yet can still be tasted amongst the other flavours.

The chamomile brings to it a earthy flavour. I will admit I'm not a huge fan of chamomile and don't really drink chamomile tea, however, I have regularly taken it when it features within another blend and I find it's natural herbal taste brings depth of flavour and another level of taste to this tea. So though I'm not a great chamomile fan on it's own, it has natural and delightful qualities that add that extra special something when added to a blend.

But it's the fennel that makes this tea really different. I wouldn't of thought that rose and fennel would work together, one being delicate and subtle, the other strong and impressive. However, towards the end of the sip, when your tongue is dancing from the spicy fennel I realised that this does work! That two flavours from the opposite end of the spectrum and on paper should not work together, really does. And I have to say my tastebuds were popping from the fennel long after the cup had been finished.

Shakespeare Tea is a hard tea to sum up in words. What I will say is that it's totally unique and I have to admit I've not tasted a tea quite like it.  When you read the description of the tea you imagine it would taste one way, when actually, in reality it's totally different.

When thinking of tea that features rose you expect something delicate. It is on first sip, then you get the thunderous explosion from the fennel and takes this tea to a totally different stratosphere.

I absolutely loved this tea. If you are wanting a traditional rose flavoured tea then this may not be the tea for you. But if you are looking for something exciting yet familiar this is ideal.
The unique qualities of this tea feels fresh and new. It's a genius of a blend and I'm hugely impressed. It brings a modern twist to something so traditionally British.

Chash Tea say on their website they hope they have done the bard justice. They absolutely have. They have created a real treat of a tea.

I loved it! And as I sit writing this review on Good Friday bank holiday I can consider myself very fortunate to have been able to try it!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

A Blog For Dad: My Tea Drinking Inspiration

This is a photograph of my lovely Dad with his parents on the day he married my Mum. He was nearly nineteen, Mum was not even eighteen. They were married for thirty seven years before his death in 2008.

I loved my Dad with a love only a daughter can have for her father. Unconditional, absolute, ever lasting and even after his death, it's a love that continues to grow. And with that brings that unique pain a daughter can have at the loss of her father. Grief, they say, is the price we pay for love.

I was blessed with my Dad. He was superb. Funny, smart, intelligent, hard working and whom put his family first before everything and anything. He slipped easily into role as the cool grandad when the time came and was a doting on his grandson and grandaughter as he was on us.

From my father, I inherited not only a passion for The Beatles (we were Beatles buddies till the very end) but my obsessive, all consuming love for tea.

Of course, I've not always been a tea drinker. I was pushed to the tea side when I realised that drinking vast amounts of coke every day was perhaps not the way to go. But my Dad always said that once I got the taste for tea 'it won't leave you, Lau, it won't'. And it hasn't - as you all know!

Dad inherited his love of tea drinking from his Dad (also pictured). According to Mum, when they lived with my nan and grandad in the early days of their marriage, the kettle or the teapot was never cold. It was one cup after another after another ... rather like it is with me!

My Dad never lived long enough to witness my slip into tea obsession, though if he were here now, or if he's watching over us, he'll find it amusing. Or hysterical!

As a family, tea runs in our veins. For instance, when Dad treated mum and I to a day out, before we even walked around that museum or stately home, we'd have to find the cafe and have a cup of tea. Then we'd have one with lunch. And probably another one before we made it home. When we went on holiday and stayed in a caravan, tea bags were the first thing he packed.             

I'm not totally sure what Dad would of thought of the weird and wonderful tea's I have in my cupboard. Earl Grey would most likely not be for him, and I'm not sure what he'd do with a oolong. But you see, it doesn't really matter at all which tea you drink. It doesn't matter if you buy artisan or supermarket. If you spend  £15 on tea or £2.50. If you get comfort in whatever blend or brand then it's all good really isn't it?

Tea is simply awesome. Tea is simply great. Dad knew it then, and I know it now. But at the same time, there is just a hint of sadness, knowing I'll never share a cup of tea with him. It's kind of bittersweet.

I miss my Dad every day. That sense of loss subsides somewhat, but never leaves you. There are times when I'm desperate for a hug. I'm desperate for that cool, logical mind of his to tell me "everything is going to be alright". Not to worry. Not to fret. 'What's the worse that can happen?'.

I miss him in his just woken up zombie state when he 'just wanted tea'. 

But mostly, I miss him when I'm making a cup of tea. I miss not having the chance to make two.

Even now though, Dad's still guiding me. For without that obsessive love my family have for tea (on the whole we are tea total) I wouldn't be sat here writing now.

I've always been told I'm my fathers daughter. I look so much like him. I don't say much but when I do say something it mean's something, not just idle chatter. And through tea, I resemble him even more.

And never have I been prouder to do so!

Baraka Teas: Malawi Peony

Right now I've never felt happier or more comfortable in my life. I'm settled in my comfy bed, laptop on, sipping tea, watching Twin Peaks and about to blog - which has become one of the main passion's in my life.

Next to me, I have on one side a Malteasers Easter Egg (kindly brought for me by one of my favourite customers) and on the other I have a simple yet delightful white tea.

That tea is from Baraka Teas and it's a blend called Malawi Peony.

It's fair to say that Baraka Tea's are new to me. I have been very lucky to experience their tea through the really fabulous teatourist tea subscription service. I would highly recommend you check out the teatourist service. Each month I've had a box pop through the letter box and it's filled to bursting with some delicious exotic tea's. They really are a great service and honestly, you get such a wide variety of choice that you can experience tea in all shapes and sizes. I am in love with teatourist!

I always keep my tea's from teatourist stacked neatly in the pantry and this evening wondered what tea I was going to blog about. I fancied something light and my eyes set immediately on Malawi Peony.  

On the information card that come with each tea I was interested to note that Baraka tea's use tea that is grown without pesticides. I found that very interesting! Also, this tea is plucked in Africa which is vastly different from where tea normally comes from!

I absolutely love white tea. I find it's delicate and light and perfect, for me anyway, at times like Christmas and Easter when we all are eating a little bit more then we normally would. I find it's delicate lightness a perfect remedy for those times when we've all over indulged a little bit.

This tea comes in huge leaf form. I filled my teabag to bursting point but hardly took any tea from the packet. So big are the leaves, it's really great to look at. I love the dark brown and lush green colour of the leaves. A different and interesting tea to look at! I felt the leaves and they are nicely crisp and are just lovely to the touch.

You may or may not know about brewing white tea. It's a tricky tea that is even more delicate then green tea so you have to be very careful and very precise when preparing this tea. Ideally the perfect temperature for this tea is 80 so I turned the kettle off quite some time before it reached full boil. Pouring hot water onto white tea will scorch the leaves making the tea a hideously bitter mess. And white tea need not be bitter at all. I set the timer on the oven for three minutes - the recommended time for this tea and waited, not very patiently I will admit, to be able to drink this tea.

And oh, how beautiful does this tea look? It brews to a light honey colour. Just delicious!

This tea is tempting in just about every single way!

White tea does have that lovely earthiness that you get with green tea but in a far more subtle way which just adds to the long list of it's charms! And charming this particular tea is.

Firstly, the tea has a very smooth texture. It has that ease to it that makes you want to gulp it down in one hit. I like the slightly nutty element to this tea that is common in white tea. But the flavour of this white peony tea rolls across your tongue in the most delightful of ways.

For all it's lightness this tea has substance. It's delicate and feminine, but not wishy washy. It has depth to it's flavour. You do honestly feel as though you've had a decent cup of tea, yet do not feel weighed down as I can sometimes do with black tea.

There is a gorgeous sweetness to this tea. When you first take a sip of this tea you have that familiar vegetation type taste you get with white and green tea, which I find to be utterly mouthwatering. But beyond that, towards the end of the sip you have this wonderful sweetness come through that works hand in hand with the tea's earthy qualities. The sweetness doesn't feel like you've added sugar to the tea, it's not that type of sweetness, but it feels natural and healthy and the sweet taste just adds that bit of extra interest within the tea.

White Peony provides you with a light, fragrant, delicate tea, that is brilliant to relax to. It's comforting yet different enough to spark your interest. I love also how this tea stays just as lovely as it cools - some white tea's can go bitter and unpleasant as it cools down.

You feel as though it's healthy, too. That you are doing yourself a huge favour, not just by treating yourself to a tasty tea, but by drinking something so natural and fresh that you can only benefit healthy wise from this tea, too.

This is white tea in it's natural, purest form. Perhaps how it should really only be taken. And it really does leave those white tea's you can buy in the supermarket in the shade.

White tea's do take to flavours very well, peach and pomegranate are two flavours that work well with white tea. However, having experienced a very high quality tea such as this, well, I don't believe flavouring is needed. It's perfect as it is.

This tea is just absolutely gorgeous. It makes a lovely change from black and green tea and can easily work it's way into my daily tea drinking life! White tea is under-rated. Severely so. It's the George Harrison of the tea world. When you mention tea you immediately think of a sturdy John Lennon black tea, or a sweet and cheeky Paul McCartney green tea. But beyond those two famous favourites stands white tea. A talented tea that can easily hold it's own but somehow, always get's forgotten. And that is criminal in my opinion.

On the tasting cards it says this tea is perfectly matched with chocolate, which is handy as I do have a easter egg sat here next to me!

I'm really, really impressed with this tea. And if Baraka Tea's collection of other tea's are as lovely as this then us tea drinkers are in for a absolute treat! I really urge you to try this tea if you fancy trying white tea. You won't be disappointed.

I think that the pairing of teatourist and Baraka Tea is just ideal.And I'm so grateful to have been able to try this wonderful tea.

Thank you to Baraka Tea and to teatourist. Without either of you, I would of missed out on a treat of a tea. I'm off now to brew a second cup (the leaves can be infused up to three times!). And I'm sure it's just as good second time round!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Chash Tea: Jasmine Oolong

For me, every single cup of tea is a treat. A luxury. Whether it be a delicious Earl Grey or a creamy milky oolong. But there is a particular type of tea that really is a EXTRA special treat. A treat I rarely have as it's quite an expensive tea. A tea which every single sip is truly tasted, savoured and enjoyed.

That tea is Jasmine tea. It's often sold as Jasmine Pearls or simply as Jasmine oolong.

Today I have a wonderful Jasmine Oolong from Chash Tea.

According to Chash Tea's website,  this tea consists of hand rolled oolong tea that is scented with freshly picked Jasmine flowers. Just reading that is mouthwatering enough for me!

I will admit that I've had several cups of this tea to get a real feel for the blend and to be able to review it in the best way I can. And with each cup this delightful blend just gets better and better and lovelier and lovelier.

Upon first inspection of this fantastic blend I just about fell in love. The colour is absolutely awesome. And it's quite amazing to think that this tea has been hand rolled by someone with such care and respect for the tea. The tiny pearls are just lovely to feel, too. It's a gorgeous looking tea, with a light, aromatic quality. First impression's were extremely positive.

 Last Friday evening I was chatting to a very nice person from Chash (not sure who they were!) on Twitter and was given a brilliant tip in the preparation of this tea. Normally, I would boil the kettle and let it cool, but was advised that the better way to make this tea was switch the kettle off just before it reached boiling point. See, you learn something new every day!

So I have perfected the art of preparing this delicate tea. As you can see when the tea is fully infused it brews to a light golden colour which is just so pretty. I love how transparent it is. To look at it you'd think this tea would be lacking something because of it's pale colour, however, it's a tea packed full of flavour.  Healthy, glorious flavour.

As a general lover of floral tea and as someone who is getting to know oolong a lot better this is a tea made in heaven for me. I just love jasmine as much as I love rose or lavender flavoured tea.

I have tried several jasmine tea's, mainly all of them being a hit. However, I've also tried some terrible jasmine tea's and it all relies on how the tea is prepared. Some jasmine tea's are actually scented with real flowers, as this is, others use a jasmine flavoured oil and this is where you can go terribly wrong.If it's scented from fresh flowers then I'd advise you to try it. If it's oil, then don't! Oil can taste fake and rather acidic. So please don't be tempted to try a really cheap jasmine tea as I'm pretty sure it won't taste anything like this tea!

I love the fragrance of the jasmine in this tea. It's light and refreshing. And once you've infused this tea it really does fill the whole house with it's fresh floral scent. It's also very natural to taste and there is a light sweetness to it which is slightly addictive and incredibly moreish.

Underneath that wonderful taste of flowers there is a delicate flavour of green tea which is both satisfying but discreet. I think the tea is rather happy to let the jasmine shine in this tea.

One of the things I love about this jasmine tea is that you're able to take it at any point of the day because it makes for a warming, satisfying cup of tea. It does set me up at the start of the day and is especially lovely (for me anyway) to have in the evening as I find it is a tea that totally relaxes me. It's just beyond gorgeous!

Jasmine tea is the most luxurious tea going. There is absolutely no way I'll change my thinking of that. If you're be able to drink it as your "every day" tea then you're very lucky indeed. For me though, this is a treat and I'll only allow myself a couple of cups a week. However, when it is a treat, you appreciate the tea even more!

This is just a pretty tea. It's pretty to look at, pretty to smell and certainly pretty to drink! But it's also solid enough to leave you feeling as though you've had a thoroughly decent cup of tea.

As we approach the warmer summer days, this is light and refreshing so perfect for this time of year. And certainly perfect for a lovely afternoon tea in the garden!

If you love floral flavoured tea's this is certainly for you. But also, if you are stepping into the green tea world but can't face drinking it unflavoured, again, I would recommend this gorgeous blend. It's tasty and delicate.

Chash Tea have an incredible amount of tea on sale on their online store. Do have a browse. I've easily found at least twenty tea's I'd love to try and certainly will be over the next few months. Till them, I'm off to treat myself to just one more jasmine tea!